Our Story

In late 2002 Susan Barr's daughters were enrolled at Thome Ohio Gymnastics and Susan was training the Girls Gymnastics Team in Ballet. The gym owner encouraged Susan to start her own studio and offered her the use of the gym's dance room. Susan followed through on the offer and started Above the Barre School of Dance in January 2003. The name is a play on her last name and a ballet barre. By June, ATB finished the short year with over 40 students. Over the next 3 years the school added a competitive Dance Company and expanded to 3 dance rooms and their own building entrance and lobby. In 2008 Thome Gymnastics closed and Above The Barre Dance & Gymnastics was born with a new focus, a remodeled facility and nearly 425 dancers and gymnasts. Growth continued and space became a problem. In 2014 ATB broke ground on a new Gymnastics facility on Berea Industrial Parkway with the backing of Petrocek properties, the Berea City Council and Mayor Kleem. In June 2015 the new 16,000 Sq. Ft. gym opened with all new equipment, 2 in ground trampolines, 3 foam pit systems, 2 dance rooms, a viewing balcony, a snack and study room and birthday party inflatables.

In 2016 the Bagley Rd facility was remodeled again with a unique pre-school gymnastics area, 6 dance rooms including a black box theater, dedicated stretch and acrobatic area, aerial arts area, student lounge and teacher break room.

Today, Above the Barre Dance and Gymnastics is Northeast Ohio’s premier dance and gymnastics facility featuring a staff of 50+ including 40+ instructors and coaches who are dedicated to serving over 1,200 enrolled students annually. ATB is unique in it's ability to offer beginner to advanced training in both Dance and Gymnastics for boys and girls.

Click on the link to take a virtual tour of our dance studio and gym and get a glimpse of all we have to offer.

Our Mission:

To build confidence and coordination through the use of arts and athletics

Our Motto:

Begin Here, Go Anywhere

Our Business:

  • Developing Coordination
  • Building Strong Minds and Bodies
  • Instilling Confidence
  • Impacting Young Lives
  • Creating a Passion for Arts and Athletics
  • Teaching Character, Goal Setting, Teamwork and Accountability
  • Training the Leaders of Tomorrow

When I started Above the Barre, I did it with the mission that I was going to impact children’s Lives and I was going to use Dance as the medium to do that. Our Mission Statement reflects this purpose. I was excited when we added Gymnastics because we could reach a whole new group of kids.
Parents have a lot of choices today in regards to selecting organized activities for their kids and I believe we have something special for all children as expressed in our Motto. Our programs provide a unique and safe environment for learning coordination, balance and teamwork. These are foundational life skills and lead to success in any activity your child may want to pursue.
-- Susan Barr, Owner ATB


Meet Owner Susan Barr

Susan Michael grew up in Western Pennsylvania where she was involved in Dance from childhood through College. In her teen years she danced competitively and started teaching and choreographing. Susan attended Grove City College where she continued to choreograph and perform in multiple productions every school year. She majored in Accounting and also continued to teach at her childhood studio.

After graduation Susan and her college sweetheart Jim Barr were married and moved to Cleveland. Jim started a career in IT and Susan worked as an Accountant and Project Manager for Key Bank. In 1999 daughter number 3 was born and Susan left her career to be a fulltime mom. Susan invested the next 3 years raising her girls and running Wednesday evening children's ministry at her church. In 2002 a conversation with Genie Thome led to the opening of Above the Barre in 2003 where Susan was able to re-ignite her passion for teaching dance.

Susan is a member of Dance Masters of America and board member of Dance Masters of Ohio. She is a graduate of DMA's Teacher Training School and holds certification in Tap, Ballet, Jazz and Acrobatic Arts. Susan is an active member of the Cecchetti Council of America and is certified to teach through Professional Grade 5. Susan also is a professional member of the USA Gymnastics and is Safety Certified. Above the Barre hosts two USAG-sanctioned gymnastics meets annually: Masquerade Extravaganza and a Boys AAU meet. Every year Susan attends numerous conventions and workshops across the country where she enjoys learning the latest styles of dance teaching techniques and gymnastics instruction.

“Dance has been a part of my life since I was 8 years old and I still get really inspired watching the kids grow up and attain goals they never thought possible. I love to see when things come together for the kids, that precious moment when they perform a skill on their own for the first time. When I started Above the Barre, I did it with the mission that I was going to impact children’s lives, and I was going to use Dance (and later Gymnastics!) as the medium to do that.”

Susan and Jim have been married for over 26 years and their 3 daughters Jessica, Christina and Ashley are all ATB alumnae and teachers.

Leadership Team

Courtny Hermman

Courtny Hermman

Our Gymnastics Rec Manger, Courtny grew up with Gymnastics being her focus since she was 5 years old right here in Northeast Ohio. She trained all the way up to Level 8 and has since been coaching since 2003 and joined the Above the Barre family in 2008 teaching Super Star and Rising Star Gymnastics, Pre-Team, USAG Level 2 and Competitive AAU. Courtney is USAG, CPR, Concussion Safety Certified and completed a Positive Coaching course. The best part of coaching for Courtney is working with kids and seeing them come in every week excited to practice, “their little smiles brighten up my day!” When she has free time, Courtney loves to bake, and is pretty good at it.

Jeff Vacha

Jeff Vacha

Jeff has spent over 30 years in this building and has been a coach here since 2008. He was a college gymnast at the University of Illinois in Chicago and has been coaching since 1997. Jeff loves this sport and everything it does for children’s strength, confidence and most importantly, having fun. He is USAG Safety Certified and is actually a registered professional disc golfer. In his free time, he loves to snowboard and throw Frisbees.

Nina Lupica

Nina Lupica

Nina first joined the Above the Barre family in August of 2016. She started her education in dance at the age of just 2 years old after watching neighborhood friends dancing outside. Trying to mimic what they were doing, she begged her parents for classes. Ms. Nina trained strictly in Cecchetti Ballet as well as jazz, tap and lyrical. She took classes and attended conventions from well known choreographers and dancers such as Brian Friedman, Mia Micheals, Francisco Gella and many others. Just one of her many accomplishments in dance was tapping alongside Sarah Savelli, Ayodele Casel and Savion Glover for a holiday performance in New York City. Nina’s love for teaching starts all with the kids; instructing them on how to grow in their dance and also into respectable young adults. What she enjoys most about teaching here at ATB are the kids technique classes where they practice future performances; she loves teaching these classes as much as she enjoys watching them. Fun fact about Nina, she was born with a full head of black hair and even had her first haircut at just 4 months old.

Katie Lyons

Katie Lyons

Katie has been a part of the Above the Barre family for a long time. She started dancing in 1998 and started as a dance instructor here in 2011 teaching tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, hip hop, lyrical and contemporary dance. Katie is certified in tap, jazz, and ballet through Dance Masters of America and Ohio Dance Masters; as well as certifications through Cecchetti Council of America. She has participated in Dance Masters of America Teachers Training School and the Cecchetti Council of Americas International Summer School as a student and a counselor. Katie is a great asset to ATB due to her love of teaching and sharing her passion of dance with her students, “I love watching them learn new things, practice with them, and perfect them.” Even though she is busy here teaching, Katie recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Middle School Education. When she is able to get some free time, Katie enjoys babysitting, watching TV, reading, drawing, but most of all being a part of the Above the Barre family and “getting to work with such awesome people.”

Joanne Fornaro

Joanne Fornaro

Joanne has been coaching Gymnastics for over 28 years and hold a degree in Sports Medicine and Dance. During this time, she has coached to local, State, Regional and National titles in AAU and USAG sanctioned competitions in levels 3 – 10 in both team and individual events. Joanne has also produced several National TOP’s team members. In addition to private club, she has also coached high school gymnastics and produced State qualify teams and individuals as well as conference champions. Joanne has earned numerous coaching awards including, “Medina Country Coach of the Year” and “Pioneer Conference Coach of the Year.” She is a professional member of USA Gymnastics, Amateur Athletic Union and holds a number of coaching and judging certifications through USAG University. Joanne is also USAG Safety, CPR and AED certified. She is happily married with three children that also train here at Above the Barre in the Dance and Gymnastics programs. Her passion is right here at ATB working with our awesome coaching staff and training her students to become wonderful athletes.

Office Support Staff

Brigette Ross

Brigette Ross

Accounts Receivable Manager, Brigette, has been a part of the Above the Barre family since 2010; however, her daughter Claudia has been training here since 2006. Her two youngest children also take classes here at ATB. Olmsted Falls is where she calls home where lives there with her husband and 3 active children. Brigette jokes, “When I’m not in the office, you’ll probably find me on the soccer field.”

CarShena Maddox

CarShena Maddox

CarShena started working at the front desk at Above the Barre in 2016, but has been a part of the ATB family since 2009 when her daughter started dancing here. In addition, her youngest son started gymnastics in 2011 and now also doing dance here. Her oldest son, Carlin, is our very own Hip Hop Instructor since 2014. CarShena is proud to have her family here at Above the Barre, but not as happy as we are. When CarShena isn’t helping out at the front desk, she loves to spend time with her family and take vacations on cruise ships.

Cora Kaufhold

Cora Kaufhold

Cora has been working with Above the Barre in varying degrees since the doors opened in 2003. She has enjoyed taking part in creating graphics, marketing and even altering costumes for the Dance Company. Her four daughters have all grown up at ATB dancing doing gymnastics and now the youngest is working hard in the gym on her ninja skills. She and her husband Tom live in North Ridgeville and enjoy spending time with family and friends when not working or driving kids around.

Donna Brinker

Donna Brinker

Donna is the Office Manager Assistant and has been working at Above the Barre since 2013. Donna has many duties, but her main focus is excellent customer service. Her daughter is a former ATB student and is now attending University of Akron majoring in dance. Donna resides in Grafton Township, where she raised her two children with her husband of 28 years. When Donna is not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends.

Lisa Yesko

Lisa Yesko

Lisa is Above the Barre's Customer Service Manager. She joined our staff with over 25 years of customer service experience including over 4 years of office management experience in the customer service industry.

Dance Teachers

All ATB staff is concussion certified and background checked!

Abby Brinker

Abby Brinker

Abby is an ATB Alumni. She attained her Bachelor of Fine Arts while interning with Verb Ballet, S.A.F.E. Project with Alexandre Munz, and Ballet X's Chloe Felesina. Her commercial work includes being a company dancer for Matt Davenport Productions, The Smoky Mountain Opry, alongside Chris Blue (Season 12 Winner of The Voice.), and Cedar Point’s Luminosity. She just recently graduated from Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester in NYC with a concentration in Street Styles. She has taught/ choreographed for dance studios across Northeast Ohio and is excited to teach at her home studio!

Amanda Recko-Downing

Amanda Recko-Downing

Amanda was born and raised right here in the Cleveland area and now resides in Avon, Ohio. Amanda has been with Above the Barre since 2005 and has 30 plus years’ experience and training under her belt in dance. Amanda attended both Kent State and University of Toledo where she studied and majored in Dance. She was a member of KSU Dance Flash Force and Captain of the Toledo Rockettes and is currently a proud member of DMA Chapter #16 and Ohio Dance Masters. She also studied and assisted at Broadway Dance Center in New York City and at The Edge in LA. Amanda has performed as a dancer, singer and a magician’s assistant throughout the U.S. and abroad; also spending six summers and 8 fall seasons performing at Cedar Point Amusement Park. You can see her cutting edge, award-winning work in theaters, amusement parks and local studios throughout North America. Her teaching accolades include numerous regional and nation competitive Choreography & Technique Awards. Just some of her many awards for her performances include “Best Female Performer” IAPPA 2005-2007 and “Best Actress in a Musical” by The Scene. All of Amanda’s students are taught to practice what you perform, be confident, be committed, and of course have fun.

Ashley Barr

Ashley Barr

Bio coming soon!

Carla Pizzola

Carla Pizzola

Carla joined us here at Above the Barre in 2015 teaching Jazz Lyrical Ballet and Acro. Carla started dancing when she was just three years old and has over 25 years’ experience with competitive dance and performing. While attending Point Park College, she earned her degree in Dance with a concentration on Ballet and Jazz. Carla was also a member of the Pittsburgh Tap Ensemble and performed in multiple shows including “The Nutcracker” with the Ohio Ballet Theater and “The Jazz Nutcracker” with PoPC and spring show cases. Due to her love of dance and commitment, she has been awarded numerous scholarships and awards for dance and choreography. Here at ATB, Carla fell in love with teaching due to watching her students grow and excel all while having a smile on their faces, “I love watching that lightbulb go off when they get something right; and then to watch them live their dreams while dancing on cruise-lines, college dance teams and even going pro.” Not only is Carla a great asset here at ATB as a dance instructor, but she also is a talented hair stylist in Independence, OH. When she’s not at the dance studio or salon, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children where they live in Westlake.

Carlin Dixon

Carlin Dixon

Above the Barre’s Hip Hop, Boy’s Next, and Adult Hip Hop classes has the pleasure of having Carlin be the instructor since 2014. Carlin has achieved many accomplishments working with different organizations, the performing arts and helping others. At Berea Mid Park High School, he was a part of the Theater program, Concert Choir, Key Club, program director for the Annual Black History Celebration and the peer mediation program. In just his first year of college at Write State University, Carlin became Vice President of his freshman class for the Black Student Union and led many events throughout the year including a suicide prevention event. He was a part of an award-winning dance group and was voted to be Chaplian for two Christian organizations on campus, one being a Gospel choir. At his home church, and many other in Cleveland, Carlin has choreographed and coordinated dance ministries, including his own Team Victory and for the guys Dance Too Program with the Cleveland Ballet. With life lessons and excellent dance moves, his teaching style is very inspiring to those in his class and is “honored to be part of the ATB family.”

Christina Barr

Christina Barr

Christina is a professional dancer who loves working with Above the Barre. When she graduated highschool, Christina got accepted into the Broadway Dance Center Professional Semester in New York City. Christina has been spotted in multiple music videos, countless dance magazines, and numerous YouTube videos. She recently fulfilled a contract with Tokyo Disney preforming in King Triton’s Concert 2017-2018. Christina loves to inspire children to live their dreams and push themselves to be the best version of themselves.

Denise Bryant

Denise Bryant

Denise Bryant has over 42 years of teaching experience. Denise has danced both on stage and on television. For 24 years she owned and operated the Denise Bryant Studio of Dance in Tallmadge. Denise is now happy to be sharing her knowledge of dance with several students in various locations. She is currently serving as President of Ohio Dance Masters and is also a member of Dance Masters of America, and the Cecchetti Council of America (where she serves as Scholarship Chairperson). Denise choreographed Bye, Bye Birdie for Tallmadge High School and Fiddler On the Roof, Oliver, My Fair Lady and The Wizard of Oz for The Dynamics, an intergenerational theater group in Tallmadge. Denise has taught Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Acro, Modern and Lyrical. She participates in workshops and master classes to continue learning about this living art we call Dance.

Erianna Raib-Ptichkin

Erianna Raib-Ptichkin

Eri Raib-Ptichkin is a well-trained and experienced dance teacher from the Youngstown, Ohio area. In addition to over twenty years of dance training, Ms. Eri has studied extensively at the collegiate level, receiving both a B.A. and B.S from Youngstown State University. As an active member of of Ohio Dance Masters and Dance Masters of America, she continues to teach the art of dance in local high schools, private studios, and state universities. Ms. Eri joined the ATB family in 2013, and looks forward to sharing another year on the dance floor with the students and staff of Above The Barre!

Erika Hunt

Erika Hunt

Erika, Northeast Ohio native, has been a ballet and pointe instructor here at Above the Barre since 2011. She began her training in 1990 at the University of Akron Dance Institute. While there, Erika had the pleasure of working with some very talented instructors including, Tatyana and Roman Mazur, Richard Dickinson, Jane Startzman, Lana Carroll, Andrew Carroll, Ana Lobe, MaryAnn Black, Amy Miller and Christina Foisie. Erika supplemented her early training with summer studies at both Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Jennifer Muller/The Works. Erika continued her education at the University of Akron and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelors Degree of Fine Arts in 2008. Erika has performed in multiple professional and pre-professional capacities throughout Northeast Ohio including Ohio Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, University of Akron Dance Company and appearances regionally as a guest artist. Erika’s training and experience shows through to her students, providing them with the correct tools to succeed in dance.

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly has been a member of Above The Barre's Dance Company for almost 15 years! She is a senior at Olmsted Falls High School with plans to graduate and attend Kent State University to pursue a degree in Managerial Marketing. Grace started off with assisting a variety of classes here and now teaches acrobatics weekly. Along with dancing, Grace is also a Olmsted Falls Varsity and Competitive cheerleader!

Holly Kuhn

Holly Kuhn

Holly has training in a variety of styles of dance, but her true passion is jazz. She has studied coast to coast and is certified through Dance Educators of America and Acrobatic Arts. She has traveled judging & master teaching for numerous competitions and conventions. With 30 plus years of teaching experience; prior to relocating to the Cleveland area Holly owned her own competitive studio in Warren, Ohio. Many of her dancers have gone on professionally, as well as, even owning their own dance companies. Her pride and joy are her two children; Tanner, 16, who will be an upcoming Junior at Amherst Steele High School and Rylie, 13, who is our reigning Junior Miss Dance of Ohio. We look forward to bringing Ms. Holly back onto our staff full time this next season!

Jessica Barr

Jessica Barr

Jessica is a native of Cleveland Ohio. She comes from a dancing family and an Alumni of Above the Barre. At a young age she trained in dance and gymnastics winning many state and national titles including Miss Dance of Ohio 2013. Jessica has studied at Broadway Dance Center in New York City under the direction of Bonnie Erickson getting to preform on the Alvin Ailey Stage. She has worked professionally for Norwegian Cruise Lines as and dancer and aerialist through the mediterranean and caribbean. Jessica has a huge passion for choreography and training. Her choreography has been recognized on the regional and national level.

Joellen Wojtowicz

Joellen Wojtowicz

Joellen began her dance training with Sylvia Hamer, FISTD, in the Cecchetti Method of Ballet, passing student examinations in grades 1-Intermediate. Ms. Joellen furthered her studies at Texas Christian University with the Nordan Fine Arts Scholarship and received her BFA in Ballet. Her performing experiences include the Ann Arbor Civic Ballet, the TCU Dance Ensemble, Ballet Concerto, Allegro Dance Theatre, Chattanooga Ballet, Fort Wayne Ballet, and touring Europe with the Contemporary Dance Company. She has been a guest performing artist with the Lancaster Ballet in Lancaster, Ohio, with Keith Lee and his Newworldance Experience at Centre College in Kentucky, and the Orange Grove Dancers in Chattanooga, TN. Joellen’s performance experience includes Odette from Swan Lake, Giselle and Myrtha from Act II, Giselle, Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker, Blue Bird pas de deux from Act III, Sleeping Beauty, Helena from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Eve from Frank Hay’s Creation, and many other classical and original ballet, modern, and jazz works. Most recently, Ms. Joellen joins us from Chattanooga Ballet where she served as School, Outreach, and School Ensemble Director. Prior to that position, she served on faculty for Chattanooga Ballet, Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Fort Wayne Ballet, and Allegro Dance Theatre. She has also choreographed for Chattanooga Ballet, Chattanooga Ballet School Ensemble, CB Children’s Company & Junior Corps, Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, The Baylor School, Orange Grove Dancers, Fort Wayne Ballet, and directed the Fort Wayne Ballet Youth Company & Youth Company too. Ms. Joellen has also taught various master classes and workshops for the University of Mississippi for Women, Middle Tennessee State University, Ballet Arts, En Pointe Dance Studio in Celina, OH., Sylvia Studio of Dance, and several other schools/organizations. Ms. Joellen is an associate teacher member of Cecchetti Council of America and has passed grades 1 through Elementary teacher examinations. In 2012, she received her Master of Arts in Education/Adult Education and Training from University of Phoenix. And, is a licensed provider of Fletcher Pilates Towelwork®, Floorwork® and BarreworkTM

Katie Lyons

Katie Lyons

Katie has been a part of the Above the Barre family for a long time. She started dancing in 1998 and started as a dance instructor here in 2011 teaching tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, hip hop, lyrical and contemporary dance. Katie is certified in tap, jazz, and ballet through Dance Masters of America and Ohio Dance Masters; as well as certifications through Cecchetti Council of America. She has participated in Dance Masters of America Teachers Training School and the Cecchetti Council of Americas International Summer School as a student and a counselor. Katie is a great asset to ATB due to her love of teaching and sharing her passion of dance with her students, “I love watching them learn new things, practice with them, and perfect them.” Even though she is busy here teaching, Katie recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Middle School Education. When she is able to get some free time, Katie enjoys babysitting, watching TV, reading, drawing, but most of all being a part of the Above the Barre family and “getting to work with such awesome people.”

Kristin Daniel

Kristin Daniel

Kristin Daniel, an accomplished artist in her own right, became enamored with performing at a very young age. Knowing she wanted to pursue her passion for the arts, she moved to Los Angeles after graduating from The University of Louisiana-Lafayette in Business Administration to work as a professional dancer. Working between Los Angeles and New Orleans, Kristin earned several credits, including: GLEE, Grey’s Anatomy, Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova” music video, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. She worked as Choreographer for ABC’s The Astronaut Wives Club and Assistant to choreographers Tyce Diorio and Lindsay Nelko on the hit show “So You Think You Can Dance?”. In addition to traveling the country Choreographing, conducting Master Classes, and judging competitions, Kristin is now in her third year of owning her own business, Distinction Arts Co., which hosts her annual dance intensive & charity organization fundraiser: Distinction Dance Intensive. constantly immersing herself into her craft, she is thrilled and excited to continue furthering her career as an artistic force in the industry.

Monica Olejko

Monica Olejko

Monica, known to the Above the Barre family as “Miss Mo” has been teaching dance for over 40 years and has been with us at ATB since 2007. With training in tap, ballet, jazz and ethnic dancing, Miss Mo has been choreographing musicals for all ages from preschool to high school in professional theatres for over 30 years. She also studied in New York with Wayne Ciliento, Onna White, Tommy Tune, Alvin Ailey and Graziela Daniele; also including the study of African movement and dance while in Zimbabwe, Africa while performing for the Harare International Arts Festival. She also choreographed the Olympic Diving and Acrobatic show at Sea World. This award winning performer continues to choreograph and direct theatre right here in Ohio. Miss Mo keeps busy and is a voice-over artist for American Greetings and Little Tyke Toys. When Miss Mo isn’t dancing or directing, she loves to spend time with her grandchildren, “They are the reason I was born.”

Nina Lupica

Nina Lupica

Nina first joined the Above the Barre family in August of 2016. She started her education in dance at the age of just 2 years old after watching neighborhood friends dancing outside. Trying to mimic what they were doing, she begged her parents for classes. Ms. Nina trained strictly in Cecchetti Ballet as well as jazz, tap and lyrical. She took classes and attended conventions from well known choreographers and dancers such as Brian Friedman, Mia Micheals, Francisco Gella and many others. Just one of her many accomplishments in dance was tapping alongside Sarah Savelli, Ayodele Casel and Savion Glover for a holiday performance in New York City. Nina’s love for teaching starts all with the kids; instructing them on how to grow in their dance and also into respectable young adults. What she enjoys most about teaching here at ATB are the kids technique classes where they practice future performances; she loves teaching these classes as much as she enjoys watching them. Fun fact about Nina, she was born with a full head of black hair and even had her first haircut at just 4 months old.

Rachel Magliola

Rachel Magliola

Dance Manager Rachel has been a part of the Above the Barre family since 2007 and is responsible for managing and setting the direction of the preschool and developmental programs. She instructs dance from Preschool Dance to Teen Dance and much more in between. Coming from a family of dancers and performers, Rachel has a long resume with her experience and training. She trained under her mother Margaret Holden and later studied dance at the University of Akron where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Art in Dance. Rachel has studied the Kostrovitskaya Pedagogical method with Dr. Peggy Willis-Aarnio and worked with choreographers Michael Medcalf, Garry Abbott, Peter Kalivas, Germaul Barnes, Linda Kahn and Young Park. She is also a former member of Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theater and worked with Tap Cleveland. Rachel’s performance experience includes musical theatre productions in New York, Tennessee, and Northeast Ohio. She is a certified member of Dance Masters of America and Cecchetti Council of America. Her goal in teaching every class is that every child gets the same chance and attention to learn skills and to most importantly, to have lots of fun.

Sarah Eash

Sarah Eash

Sarah is a John Carrol University graduate with her degree in psychology. She started her dance education at the age of 3 years old. Throughout her dance career, she has spent time training at many studios, learning the art of dance from many educators, including those here at Above The Barre. She is educated and accomplished in many forms of dance including lyrical, jazz, ballet/pointe (Cecchetti), tap, acro, and musical theater. She is also a former member of Ohio Dance Theatre, a professional ballet company that was based in Oberlin, OH. What Sarah enjoys most about teaching is how rewarding it is seeing her students passion for the art and progression of skills learned from every student age 3-17. Fun Fact: Sarah was rewarded the “Overall Talent Winner” scholarship in 2012, winning the title of Miss Ohio’s Outstanding Teen for the Miss America Organization.

Tori Taylor

Tori Taylor

Tori is a 2012 graduate from Austintown Fitch High School where she was an active member of the Concert Choir. She teaches tap, hip hop, lyrical/contemporary, jazz, and musical theater at Steppin Out Dance Center, owned by her mother, Rose Taylor. In January of 2018, she became a licensed esthetician after completing her schooling at the prestigious Casal Aveda Institute. As a competitor, Tori has won numerous awards on the regional and national level, including the Kids Artistic Revue 2012 Miss Dance America. Her choreography has won numerous regional and national awards, including multiple national champion overalls.

Gymnastic Coaches

All ATB staff is concussion certified and background checked!

Brittany Garfalo

Brittany Garfalo

Brittney started working at with us in October 2016, but started training personal goals here in the adult open gym in 2014. Since childhood, she has always had a huge passion for gymnastics and was naturally talented, copying videos and televised gymnastics meets until she started tumbling classes. Brittney has been a preschool teacher for over six years, so when the opportunity to coach the sport she loves came up, she couldn't say no! Above The Barre is very special to her from the very start because its a family environment that feels like home. "The support of the coaches and staff with families and students, is undoubtedly the best part of ATB" When Brittney is not coaching, she loves to spend all her time with her daughter and boyfriend. She is studying to one day become a physical therapist.

Courtny Hermman

Courtny Hermman

Our Gymnastics Rec Manger, Courtny grew up with Gymnastics being her focus since she was 5 years old right here in Northeast Ohio. She trained all the way up to Level 8 and has since been coaching since 2003 and joined the Above the Barre family in 2008 teaching Super Star and Rising Star Gymnastics, Pre-Team, USAG Level 2 and Competitive AAU. Courtney is USAG, CPR, Concussion Safety Certified and completed a Positive Coaching course. The best part of coaching for Courtney is working with kids and seeing them come in every week excited to practice, “their little smiles brighten up my day!” When she has free time, Courtney loves to bake, and is pretty good at it.

Jeff Vacha

Jeff Vacha

Jeff has spent over 30 years in this building and has been a coach here since 2008. He was a college gymnast at the University of Illinois in Chicago and has been coaching since 1997. Jeff loves this sport and everything it does for children’s strength, confidence and most importantly, having fun. He is USAG Safety Certified and is actually a registered professional disc golfer. In his free time, he loves to snowboard and throw Frisbees.

Joanne Fornaro

Joanne Fornaro

Joanne has been coaching Gymnastics for over 28 years and hold a degree in Sports Medicine and Dance. During this time, she has coached to local, State, Regional and National titles in AAU and USAG sanctioned competitions in levels 3 – 10 in both team and individual events. Joanne has also produced several National TOP’s team members. In addition to private club, she has also coached high school gymnastics and produced State qualify teams and individuals as well as conference champions. Joanne has earned numerous coaching awards including, “Medina Country Coach of the Year” and “Pioneer Conference Coach of the Year.” She is a professional member of USA Gymnastics, Amateur Athletic Union and holds a number of coaching and judging certifications through USAG University. Joanne is also USAG Safety, CPR and AED certified. She is happily married with three children that also train here at Above the Barre in the Dance and Gymnastics programs. Her passion is right here at ATB working with our awesome coaching staff and training her students to become wonderful athletes.

Joe Zitriki

Joe Zitriki

Joe is currently a student at Cleveland State University working towards becoming a Physical Therapist. He earned his Black Belt in karate at age 15 and later started parkour and tricking. He soon became a tumbling coach and has continued ever since 2010. Since then he has added break dancing, martial arts weapons training (such as double nunchucks, bo staff, rope dart), popping/animation, and capoeira to his list of skills. He has participated in competitive cheerleading and has also cheered for CSU. He has coached at Camp Woodward with world famous athlete Kie Willis as well as Ohio Cheer Explosion, Tracy’s Karate Studio, Caliber Dance Company and Steel City Parkour. Joe is a former Pararescue Candidate in the U.S. Air Force Special Operations, and is also a certified Personal training by the American Council on Exercise. Joe is exceptionally well rounded and is willing to help anyone achieve their goals no matter what they might be.

Meghan Riley

Meghan Riley

Coach Meghan started here at ATB in June 2016; however, she started training at Above the Barre in 2015, as well as training 13 years prior. She was introduced to gymnastics at the age of 3 when her parents signed her up for a class. Meghan grew a passion for gymnastics and was a part of the Magnificat High School Gymnastics Team all 4 years. All of Meghans training brought her to ATB where she “improved on every event including front handspring front tucks, clear hips and especially bars”. Since she is not competing anymore, her love of teaching has only grown. Coach Meghan loves teaching and helping kids accomplish the goals they want to reach as well as having fun. “ATB is so special because everyone wants the best for all the students and wants them to succeed”. Meghan is currently a student at Baldwin Wallace University majoring in Healthcare.

Morgan Dwulat

Morgan Dwulat

Coach Morgan first join the ATB Family in August of 2015. Her love for Gymnastics started at the age of 3 when her parents signed her sister and her up for a pre-school gymnastics class. She stayed with the sport, training all the way up to Optional Level and cheerleading; tumbling being her favorite area. “I enjoy teaching because I love to see kids advance in a sport they are passionate about. It’s great to see them get so excited over a new skill. Our students are always so determined to get better and better themselves”, says Coach Morgan. Currently, she is finishing her second year of college at Tri-C and soon transferring to Cleveland State to finish her bachelors in Forensic Criminology. Fun fact, Morgan is a triplet and loves run, shop, and hang out with her friends.

Nate Geffert

Nate Geffert

Nate has been coaching gymnastics for over 17 years. During this time he has coached both private club and high school teams, coaching to State and Regional titles in both team and individual events. Nate joined the ATB family in 2012 and has coached men’s and women’s gymnastics at levels 3-9 as well as Xcel and recreational classes. He is a professional member of USA Gymnastics and holds a number of coaching certificates through USAG University including Safety and Risk Management and Junior Olympic Development Coach Certification. His passion is helping students to not only become better gymnasts, but also become better all-around people. Nate is married and has a 2 year old daughter who loves spending time at the gym as much as her daddy.

Nico Oliveros

Nico Oliveros

Bio Coming Soon!

Sam Caspio

Sam Caspio

Bio coming soon!

Tommy Case

Tommy Case

Tommy Case was born and raised in Mentor, Ohio and has a background in martial arts tricking. Tommy has been training and traveling with this sport for over 6 years. He decided that coaching would be an amazing fit for his lifestyle, spreading his love for movement and everything he knows about it has became a passion of his. Tommy is excited to continue coaching at Above the Barre, seeing plenty of new faces, and most importantly, plenty of progression!